Maryland Hop Market
Local is as local does.
Just this morning, we hosted the third annual Maryland Hop Market in our tasting room. Twenty-two breweries attended to evaluate and potentially purchase hops from six local growers looking for their hops to find their way into beers in the coming year.
To open the market, Kevin Attick, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland, which sponsored our market (alongside the Northeast Hop Alliance) reminded the crowd of the importance of supporting not only local breweries, but also local ingredients. A rising tide lifts all ships throughout the craft beer industry.
The event kicked off with a happy hour (ahem, at 10 am) where our brewmaster Matt Brophy welcomed our brethren brewers from:
- Barley and Hops
- Black Hops
- Brewer's Alley and Monocacy
- Full Tilt
- Gordon Biersch
- Heavy Seas
- Manor Hill
- New Zagros
- Pilot Malt House
- Pub Dog
From there, each grower displayed a sample of each hop variety harvested this year. Hops are evaluated on appearance, moisture content and aroma. To properly gauge the latter, you don't just sniff a whole cone; you vigorously rub it in the palms of your hands to release the resin and oils that reside in each cone.
The growers and hop varieties included:
- Black Locust Hops: Cascade, Chinook, Brewer's Gold
- Creeping Creek Farms: Cascade
- Cultivate Farm: Cascade
- Fairview Farm Hops: Cascade and Chinook
- Organarchy Hops: Cascade, Chinook
- Pleasant Valley Hops: Cascade and Nugget
In addition to making offers on hops, each brewer was asked to complete a detailed evaluation for each grower. Commercial hop farming is a relatively new venture in the State of Maryland, so any and all feedback on how it can continue to grow (intended) is essential, especially from commercial growers who purchase and brew with millions of pounds of hops per year.
After a good rub session our guests were encouraged to clean up any residual oils. And yes, the best hop hand sanitizer is good, old-fashioned grain alcohol.
Two local farm breweries, Milkhouse and Manor Hill, also showcased beers brewed with local hops, malts and even plums. You'll have to take a trip out to the farms to try those beers, but our Fresh Hop Ale is on tap in our tasting room for samples and growler fills all weekend long.